The state of New Hampshire is having an issue with finding skilled heavy equipment operators to fill open positions; this is due to the aging workforce and trouble finding qualified people with adequate training to work in this industry.
It seems that it will continue that way as the industry is just starting to build a pool of qualified workers. There will still be a shortage of workers as the state continues to construct new roads, bridges and other infrastructures.
And you can capitalize on this to your advantage. Start a career as a heavy equipment operator today. Now is a great time to consider this profession. You might be thinking, is this the right job to get into? The answer is yes.
Aside from the competitive wage and decent benefits you can enjoy, this career is in demand and going to be that way for the foreseeable future, as the BLS reported it. This means you can build a sustainable career in this industry.
If you’re new and want to get started, finding a heavy equipment school where you can enroll in a course is the first step to take. Here are what you can find in New Hampshire:
Heavy Equipment Operator Schools in New Hampshire
- Heavy Construction Academy
5 Industrial Drive, Brentwood, NH 03833-6543
(888) 772-9002; (603) 772-9002; Text (603) 395-3645
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 4
Local 976 Hall, 155 West Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801
Phone: +1 508-533-1433
- Associated Training Services
Training Facility is located in Brentwood
Tel: (800) 383-7364; Fax: (608) 825-6752
There are not many schools in NH for heavy equipment operation. If you decide to take the training in another school located in the neighboring state, you can do so.
To help you choose the right one, here are the criteria you can follow so that you won’t commit a mistake in selecting:
How to Choose the Best heavy Equipment School to Train At
- Find a school that helps students to find a job after graduation. They usually either place you for employment or help you search for a job since the school commonly partners with private companies and contractors who are looking for skilled and qualified talent like you.
- Training at a school with good infrastructure and modern equipment is also what you should aim for. Having a modern facility is important for students to achieve educational results since the conditions of the training school have a direct effect on the performance of the trainees. If you want to make sure you are enrolling at the right school with such facilities, visit their campus and see what they offer. Oh, well, ask permission first before visiting.
- Find an accredited school and with a reputable instructor. You won’t be having a hard time finding one with a good credentials, just solicit opinions from your colleagues, they will surely tell their honest thoughts on your preferred school. After that, ask the school about the credential of their instructor, the school usually boasts this.
- Find a school that will prepare their students to pass the NCCER certification. One of the certifications you should aim to get a job as a heavy equipment operator is the NCCER certification. To prepare for it, the school usually included this in their curriculum. Choose a school that incorporates the NCCER certification in its training program.
- If I were you, I would choose the school that assists the students in terms of career guidance and job placement. Though not all schools have such assistance, you can find one, choose that. With their network of companies and contractors, they can surely place you for a job after graduation.
Ways How You Can Pay for The School
If you’re out of budget or don’t have sufficient funds to pay the school, there are ways you can do to defray the expenses:
- If you’re a veteran, the Post 9-1-1 GI Bill can defray all or part of the tuition. Apply for it if you know you can qualify; it will certainly help pay for taking the training. The recipient of such funding can receive up to $19,000 tuition assistance per year and enjoy a monthly living allowance for the whole duration of the training.
- If a veteran takes the training at ATS, one of the reputable schools out there, he can be eligible for housing vouchers which are great for paying the housing while in the training school. To qualify, the veteran must have been honorably discharged from the service and submit his Form DD214 to the school.
- If you are a civilian or individual, you can apply for a scholarship; inquire with the school what scholarship you are qualified for. The school usually works with the applicant to make the tuition easy for them.
- Unemployment benefits are a good stimulus given by the government. One of the benefits is the federal grant to help cover the training cost. Here are the grants you can be qualified for: Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Trade Adjustment Act (TAA), Displaced Farmers, Vocational Rehabilitation; Tribal Education (BIA), Department of Workforce Development, National Farmworkers Jobs Program (NFJP)
- You can also apply for a student or career loan. You should have a good credit record before you get qualified for such a loan. You usually pay for a down payment upon enrolling in the training school, and then the loan can be used to pay for the remaining balance of the tuition and other expenses (such as books, PPEs, board), etc.) while in the training. Applying for a student loan should be the last choice you make if you don’t qualify for the above options because of the interest you should have to shoulder.
How to Take the Heavy Equipment Operator Training Course
There are some steps involved in taking the training course, to give you a bird’s eye view of what you need to accomplish, here are the steps you have to do:
- Be sure you have the requirements. The two aspects you have to prepare for are the school admission requirement and the job requirements. See below, for the details on this.
- Find a training school that offers NCCER certification as part of their training program. There’s only a handful of schools you can find in New Hampshire, as stated above, but in as much as possible, look for a program that prepares the students for the NCCER certification tests. See below the criteria in choosing the best school.
- The training course is composed of classroom lectures and hands-on exercises in the field. In the classroom, you will learn about different subjects such as job site safety, excavation and grades, formulas and computation, technical drawing and blueprint reading and project management and other topics that may be deemed necessary for the type of program and equipment you are training for.
- While in the field, taking the practical training, you will get your hands dirty; you will operate a backhoe, front-end loader, excavator, skid steer, motor grader, articulating dump truck, bulldozer, vibratory roller, forklifts, depending on the training program. The practical training is important, as this is the seat time, you will get the chance to operate the equipment in a real-world setting to acquire the necessary practical skills needed for the job as a heavy equipment operator. The school may use a simulator but nothing beats if you do the practical training in the actual environment.
- The school may administer a written test and performance assessment as part of their standard to measure the theoretical knowledge and practical skills students have acquired from the training. Pass the tests and you can be assured of receiving your certificate as proof of training completion.
The completion of the training program on heavy equipment operation not only will help you acquire the necessary skills and knowledge but will also prepare you to pass the NCCER certification if you opt to obtain it. Having such credentials will able you to work in the construction industry that dictates a higher salary.
Although, there’s another way to become a skilled heavy equipment operator - that is by completing an apprenticeship program offered by a union or contractor, and here are some specifics about it.
Completing a Heavy Equipment Operator Apprenticeship Program
Being an apprentice is also a good way if you want to pursue a career as a heavy equipment operator to gain the practical skills and knowledge required for the job. The program is sponsored by a union, company or contractor.
The program lasts for about three (3) to four (4) years incorporating on-the-job training and classroom training. That is equivalent to around 4,500 manhours.
The pay you can make will vary depending on the location but typically, the starting salary of an apprentice starts from 40% to 50% of the journeyman’s wage. As you progress towards the end of the training, your salary will increase yearly.
If you want to become an apprentice, ask the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 4, the contact info is stated above, if they have openings. You can also inquire with the community college in your location if they have such training available at this time.
Requirements You Need
For the school admission, here are generally what you need:
- You need to be at least 18 years old at the time of the training. If you’re 17, you need to obtain written approval from your parents.
- A high school diploma or its equivalent will be asked from you. You will also need this if you’re applying for a job as an operator.
- Well, of course, the tuition fee and other fees for books, room and PPEs. Taking the course might cost you around $10,000 - $20,000 depending on other factors. Investing in education is a great asset. You can easily recuperate your expenses because operators can make an annual salary of $50,000 on average. See above the way how you can pay for the tuition.
The school requirements vary, it would be better to make an inquiry with the school about it.
While for the job, the requirements also vary from employer to employer, but typically, here are what you need to prepare for:
- It would be highly beneficial if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with you prior to applying for a job. Employers prefer those candidates with such licenses, and you are at a better position to negotiate for a competitive salary if you have CDL. If you don’t have it yet and you want to apply, follow this page.
- Again, you are at a better standing if you’ve completed an apprenticeship program or a vocational training course on heavy equipment operation as employers want those candidates who are already qualified to perform the high-risk job.
- Heavy equipment operator usually move their hands, feet and body repeatedly to operate controls, climb to enter/exit the machinery’s operator cab, sit for a long period of time, move around the job site to conduct inspection and survey and other physical work. The nature of the job is exhausting and you need to be physically able to perform such work. Also, heavy equipment operators typically work in many different weather conditions – from the searing heat to biting cold, you need to be in good medical conditions. The employer may require you to pass the DOT physical and medical tests prior to employment.
Salary of Heavy Equipment Operators Working New Hampshire
According to the latest March 28, 2023 report of Salary.Com, the average yearly salary of heavy equipment operators working in the state of New Hampshire is $71,105. But the salary range falls between $59,459 and $80,664 depending on some factors.
Here are the cities and towns of NH that compensate well:
If you will work in Vermont, the wage is a bit lower.
The factors that affect how much pay you would get will depend on the location on this state where you are working, the qualifications and certification you have, the experience you have spent working as a heavy equipment operator and additional applicable skills you can apply for the job.
You have a good future being an operator, as the demand for this trade will continue to grow in the next coming years or even decades. The main driver for this growth is the booming construction industry and expenditures of the government on the construction of roads and bridges and other infrastructures.
Contacting the Related Authorities
OSHA Area Office
J.C. Cleveland Federal Bldg 53 Pleasant Street, Room 3901, Concord, NH 03301
Phones: (603) 225-1629; (603) 225-1580